JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says a Coast Guard post will be established in Montego Bay in order to stem the flow of weapons into the island under the guns for drugs trade.
  • The Prime Minister said the Coast Guard post will curtail the ease with which criminal elements are able to access guns.
  • The Prime Minister said the strategies being put in place will not solve the crime problem overnight, but assured that “we are working with the greatest speed and alacrity to ensure that the results are early”.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says a Coast Guard post will be established in Montego Bay in order to stem the flow of weapons into the island under the guns for drugs trade.

He made the disclosure at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister’s Montego Bay office on Sunday (September 26), to discuss strategies to stem the upsurge of crime in St. James.

This was following a meeting with the leadership of the security forces and tour of several crime-affected communities in the parish.

The Prime Minister said the Coast Guard post will curtail the ease with which criminal elements are able to access guns.

“It is clear that the (crime) problem is driven by access to guns. In fact, 90 per cent of the crimes committed are by weapons, and that speaks to a major problem of the control of our borders,” he noted.

Mr. Holness said the crime situation in the parish is more than just a security problem and requires a multifaceted approach.

He gave the assurance that both human and material resources for the security forces will be beefed up and that there is need for major legislative reform to empower members of the security forces as they carry out their duties.

He also noted that more searches will be conducted and the mobility of the police will be addressed.

The Prime Minister said the strategies being put in place will not solve the crime problem overnight, but assured that “we are working with the greatest speed and alacrity to ensure that the results are early”.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said the tour provided him with an opportunity to understand more clearly the nature of the crime problem in St. James, the issues that confront the police on a daily basis, and to obtain suggestions from citizens on the way forward.

“The purpose of the tour is to assure the people of Montego Bay and the people of Jamaica, generally, that the Government of Jamaica is focusing its time, energy and resources on ensuring the safety and security of the people of Montego Bay and St. James,” he said.

The meeting was attended by National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague; Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang; Attorney General, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte; Police Commissioner, Dr. Carl Williams; Chief of Defence Staff, Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Major General Antony Anderson; the top brass of the St. James Police and Area One Divisions as well as other political and security representatives.